Aug. 19 – (Ps. 30-33) “The Lord will give strength to His people. The Lord will bless His people with peace (29:11).” “I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up, and have not let my foes rejoice over me.  O Lord my God, I cried out to You, and You healed me.  O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.  Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name (30:1-4).”  These words are underlined in my Bible as a remembrance of what He has done for me at a time in my life.  What I’m asking God now is to constantly help me to remember this and be grateful for the mighty things He has done! 

Aug. 20 – (Ps. 34-36) What do you think is the connection between humility and the ability to praise the Lord at all times (34:2-6)?

            David used four different Hebrew words for deliverance.  What were the different variations in the concept of deliverance that occur here (34:4, 6, 7, and 22)?

            Ps. 36:7-10 is underlined in my Bible. It was the day we moved into our current home. One that we had prayed about for at least 2 years. It fits us, it provides for us a home that is mortgage free and allows us more freedom to do His work during this season of our life. I was so amazed at how He provided it all and how it came together. Now I read that note and realize my need to feel that way every day no matter what the day would bring.  Selah 

Aug. 21 – (Ps. 37-39) Here is a good “Life Lesson” about these Psalms. It is taken from “Ragamuffin Gospel” by Brennan Manning. 

When we wallow in guilt, remorse, and shame over real or imagined sins of the past we are disdaining God’s gift of grace. Preoccupation with self is always a major component of unhealthy guilt and recrimination.  It stirs our emotions, churning in self-destructive ways, closes us in upon the mighty citadel of self, leads to depression and despair and preempts the presence of a compassionate God.  The language of unhealthy guilt is harsh.  It is demanding, abusing, criticizing, rejecting, accusing, blaming, condemning, reproaching and scolding.  It is one of impatience and chastisement.  Christians are shocked and horrified because they have failed.  Unhealthy guilt becomes bigger than life.  The image of the childhood story “Chicken Little” comes to mind.  Guilt becomes the experience in which people feel the sky is falling. Yes, we feel guilt over sins, but healthy guilt is one which acknowledges the wrong done and feels remorse, but then is free to embrace the forgiveness that has been offered.  Healthy guilt focuses on the realization that all has been forgiven, the wrong has been redeemed.

            When you sin, do you casually say “Oops, I’m sorry” or keep beating yourself over the head even after you have repented?  We need to humbly repent of our sins and then go in confidence knowing we are forgiven!

            “Lord, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am” (39:4).  Oh, that we could know what our life looks like to God.  But then we would be like God, wouldn’t we?  I think David wanted an honest assessment of his life.  I do pray that God would help me to see me as He sees me and not what I think others see in me or I think of myself.

Aug. 22 – (Ps. 40-44)   Psalms 42-72 is considered the second book of Psalms. It introduces the first group of psalms by the “sons of Korah” (42,44-49,50). There are also more psalms of David. Once again, lament and distress dominate these prayers, which now also include a communal (voice e.g. 44). The lone psalm attributed to Solomon concludes Book 2 with a look at God’s ideal for Israel’s kings-ultimately pointing to Christ as the final great King of God‘s people.

Here is another “Life Lesson” pertaining to chapters 40 and 41. It is taken from “The Eye of the Storm” by Max Lucado. “An old man walks down a Florida beach.  The sun sets like an orange ball on the horizon.  The waves slap the sand.  The smell of salt water stings the air.  The beach is vacant.  No sun to entice the sunbathers.  Not enough light for the fishermen.  So, aside from a few joggers and strollers, the gentleman is alone.

            He carries a bucket in his bony hand.  A bucket of shrimp.  It’s not for him.  It’s not for the fish.  It’s for the sea gulls. He walks to an isolated pier cast in gold by the setting sun.  He steps out to the end of the pier.  The time has come for the weekly ritual.  He stands and waits. Soon the sky becomes a mass of dancing dots.  The evening silence gives way to the screeching of birds.  They fill the sky and then cover the moorings.  They are on a pilgrimage to meet the old man.

            For a half hour or so, the bushy-browed, shoulder-bent gentleman will stand on the pier, surrounded by the birds of the sea, until his bucket is empty.  But even after the food is gone, his feathered friends still linger.  They linger as if they’re attracted to more than just food.  They perch on his hat.  They walk on the pier.  And they all share a moment together….

            The old man on the pier couldn’t go a week without saying “thank you.”  His name was Eddie Rickenbacker.  If you were alive in October 1943, you probably remember the day that he was reported missing at sea.  He had been sent on a mission to deliver a message to Gen. Douglas MacArthur.  With a handpicked crew in a B-17 known as the “Flying Fortress,” he set off across the South Pacific.  Somewhere the crew became lost, the fuel ran out, and the plane went down.  All eight crew members escaped into the life rafts.  They battled the weather, the water, the sharks, and the sun.  But most of all, they battled the hunger.  After eight days, their rations were gone.  They ran out of options.  It would take a miracle for them to survive.

            And a miracle occurred.  After an afternoon devotional service, the men said a prayer and tried to rest.  As Rickenbacker was dozing with his hat over his eyes, something landed on his head.  He would later say that he knew it was a sea gull.  He didn’t know how he knew; he just knew.  That gull meant food…if he could catch it.  And he did. The flesh was eaten. The Intestines were used as fish bait.  And the crew survived.  What was a sea gull doing hundreds of miles away from land?  Only God knows. But whatever the reason, Rickenbacker was thankful.  As a result, every Friday evening this old captain walked to the pier, his bucket full of shrimp and his heart full of thanks.

            We’d be wise to do the same.  We’ve much in common with Rickenbacker.  We, too, were saved by a Sacrificial Visitor.  We, too, were rescued by One who journeyed far from only God knows where.  And we, like the captain, have every reason to look in the sky… and worship!”

Psalm 42 is one of my favorite chapters but as I am reading it today, I get a whole new picture.  It started when I looked at the meaning of some of the phrases.  I now see it as the psalmist seeking the face of God (Who He is) and not the hand of God (what He can do for you).  He is battling the fleshly thoughts but then coming back in the Spirit to over shadow what the flesh wants to say.  We all know we are supposed to walk by the Holy Spirit and not by our carnal nature.  That carnal nature is dead in Jesus Christ!  We need to keep it buried and continue to give life to what the Spirit is telling us and showing us!  Praise God who always causes us to triumph in Him! 

Aug. 23 – (Ps. 45-49) There are certain chapters in the Bible that mean so much to an individual.  Chapter 46 is one of them for me.  It begins with confidence that when we’re in trouble, God will always be our refuge.  It then goes on to remind us that in all situations, God IS with us!  Finally, it reminds us that if we quit running around like a chicken with its head cut off, and be still, we will know that God is God, God is good, and God will always work for our good and His glory (Notes from Pastor Torry’s sermon a while back.  

Aug. 24 – (Ps. 50-55) Ps. 50:23 gives us two directives. It shows us how to glorify God and instructs us how to show the salvation of God!

            How does God create a pure heart (Ps. 51)? As you read through this Psalm, write down some specific ways.  Let’s pick one way and ask God to show us where we need to repent.  Repentance means turning away from. “Help us Lord, to have a pure heart.” 

Aug. 25 – (Ps. 56-61) I have another “Life Lesson” from “A Dad’s Blessing” by Gary Smalley and John Trent.  I have sent this before but every time I read it, it gives me renewed courage. 

            Many years ago, Frederick Nolan was fleeing from his enemies during the North African persecution.  Hounded by his pursuers over hill and valley with no place to hide, he fell exhausted into a way side cave where he fully expected to be found.  Awaiting his death, he saw a spider weaving a web.  Within minutes, the little bug had woven a beautiful web across the mouth of the cave.  The pursuers arrived and wondered if Nolan was hiding in there; but they thought it impossible for him to have entered the cave without dismantling the web.   And so, they went on.  Having escaped, Nolan emerged from his hiding place and proclaimed, “Where God is, a spider’s web is like a wall.  Where God is not, a wall is like a spider’s web.   God is our wall of defense.  He is the one who delivers us from those who want to hurt us.  He is the one who gives us the comfort and strength we need to be courageous and to endure the trials and trouble that enter our lives.